Lytro drew photographers’ attention upon its idea of light-field photography when it revealed the novel technology in 2011. The concept of taking photos, then refocusing them around any object in the picture after the fact, was fascinating to say the least, leading some to speculate Lytro could end up redefining digital photography.
The company soon delivered on its promise to bring the technology to market via its own camera. The Lytro debuted in the winter of 2012. The device applied technology, pioneered by Stanford University researcher Ren Ng, that takes photos by capturing an entire plane of light. Standard cameras capture a single moment from a point of light. The upshot for consumers is that you can change the focus in a picture after the fact. Shaped like an enlarged stick of butter, it did exactly as advertised. Even better, it was simple and consumer-friendly; moreover, the pictures were shareable on Facebook and Twitter.
Fanciful though, this new type of camera was thought not to become mainstreams by critics. While the company took heart to expand its production since receiving a $40 million round of funding to apply its technology to new categories.
The funding comes after the company laid off some employees over the summer. CEO Jason Rosenthal declined to say how many of its $400 cameras it has sold, but claims the figure is 20% more than what it had planned.
Accompanying with the courageous fund was the up to$90 million invest brought by Lytro’s new investor, North Bridge Ventures. However for many consumers, the appeal of a camera that retails for more than twice the price of a decent point-and-shoot isn’t so obvious.
Rosenthal said many potential applications exist for the technology, though, including medical and industrial imaging, smart phones and video cameras. The new round of funding will help fuel such expansion.
“We’re mainly focused on how to solve consumer professional and business problems with Lytro technology,” Rosenthal added.
The new categories are still to be seen, but seen from the sluggish consumer sensation the technology is thought to be better used technologically than commercially by some insiders. While once accepted by more consumers, the camera can absolutely become an entertainment booster and must, as it prolongs the static picture’s life and make it vivid and lively to bear one and more perspective pictures.
What do you think of the light-field photography and Lytro? Will the company succeed and thrive, or do its living pictures have limited appeal? Have your say in the comments.